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4 March 2013 - Climbing System

If you haven't heard about From Earth before, read the outline of the project here.

The climbing system kind of started from aesthetic point of view. I didn't want to use standard first-person jump techniques, ala Half-Life 2, where you can simply press +jump and fly upwards. I wanted a stronger sense of momentum, where you had to speed up before being able to jump. I also wanted to learn more at animating, and doing climbing animations was a good way to start.

The player simply walks to a cliff or box and if the cliff is one that the player can climb, it will show a hint on the HUD. The default key for climbing is the HL2 +jump key, spacebar. The player can climb 128 high, where in HL2 the player could only jump to 56 at max. There's three different animations for different height types. Each climbing animation for a height type is a blended animation of two different heights. After this I started experimenting with more animations and climbing abilities, and so came the hanging system, where the player can grab ledges while falling. While hanging they can move left and right, let go and fall down, and climb up if there's enough empty space. Players can slide on the ground, which helps them to get under objects without having to stop running to crouch. The ladders in From Earth are also their own entity that are integrated into climbing system.

The red box is the actual physics object of the player entity The green box is used for hitbox detection


Of course, having a movement and climbing system so vastly different from Half-Life 2 requires a lot more playtesting than usual. Even something like jumping has taken its time to develop. At first, the jumping animation was originally a lot slower. Players didn't take off from the ground until a certain part in the animation, which caused a small delay. This created problems where players would repeatedly fall when trying to make a jump, not having pressed +jump early enough. I increased the animation speed to decrease the delay.

Some of the control schemes also create problems. To perform a front wall run, for example, the player first needs to run forward towards a wall. If there's a wall in front of the player that the player can wall-run, then the player will start doing so automatically. The player can then press +back to jump backwards. The HUD hint says that you have to press both +forward and +back at the same time. In the frame you press +back you don't need to be pressing +forward, but if you stop pressing it any sooner the game will assume you want to stop wall-running and it will no longer register your +back as a jump. If I only had the HUD hint say +back, as I noticed in live playtests, that a lot of playtesters would first stop pressing +forward and only then press +back. I didn't use +jump for doing the backwards jump, because the wall the player is running across might also have cliffs that the player could hang on to, and +jump is reserved for that action.



Side wall-running works a little bit differently. If you want to jump to the right while wall running a wall to the left, you need to look to your right and then press +jump. If the player reaches a wall, the player will automatically stop side wall-running. If there's a cliff there, the player can start hanging to it normally with +jump, or the player can continue to front wall-run that wall. While sidewall running, the player might also want to quickly stop wall-running without losing a lot of momentum. In these cases the player can simply press +duck.

I also changed running to be toggled on and off. This was because of how some of our more complex platforming puzzles required the player to maintain a high momentum. The player needed to be able to run right after performing climbing animations. Having to press +jump (to climb up the cliff they are hanging to it), +forward (to move forward), and +speed (to start running) was too complicated and would often result in players slowing down in a critical moment. The climbing system has a "memory of momentum" where it will return part of the velocity it had before starting a climbing animation.

Thoughts

Making a whole new climbing system for a Half-Life 2 mod is a lot work, and a biggest part of that is tuning the system and finding the best control scheme. Although I think the climbing system itself is there to stay, some parts of it such as being able to hang on poles, balancing, climbing on airvents, and such, might end up being candidates for the trash bin. They simply may not be good enough, or might not inspire enough puzzles to justify their presence in the game. I also thought about being able to climb pipes, but that might have created only new problems. If the player can climb only one type of pipe, then why not every type of pipe in the game? Why not these pipes in the elevator shaft (in an area where the player has to figure out how to get elevator to work)? On top of that, it would have been a lot of new animations to create and more programming for something that the player was already able to do to some extent with hanging and ladder climbing.

One thing that the climbing system caused was that I had to rethink a lot of the level design. In Half-Life 2 the player can only jump up to 56 units, as I said. In From Earth the player can climb 128 units if the wall is solid, but she can also do a wall-run and then hang on a ledge. If this is not enough, the player can first front wall-run a wall, and then jump backwards, and keep wall-running and jumping. The player can get into a lot of places where you might first think they might not, and in some cases it has been difficult to naturally create maps where the player can't return to the previous area.
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   Factory



Looking for help

We are still looking for people. If you are interested to apply, you can send me a message on Moddb, Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail me at au-heppa@hlssmod.net.

Level Designers
We are looking for two different types of Level Designers. Firstly, we need people that can bring existing levels an aesthetic quality, and are experienced with lighting, texturing, and the general make up in Hammer. Screenshots and/or example maps are required.

We are also looking for puzzle designers, such as anyone who has a lot of experience designing different types of puzzles for games like Portal 2. Source engine or Hammer experience is not necessary.

Concept Artists
Most of the concept work will revolve around the industrial era Alien technology and architecture. Samples of previous work required. We already have a strong set of existing concept art for you to draw on.

Voice actors and actresses
Although the script is nowhere near ready, we are looking for people to play the parts of Zenaida, Anthony, as well as the generic voices of aliens, both male and female actors. All voice actors applying should provide some kind of samples. You should be able to do big range of emotions. Some lines might be delivered at a later date.

The aliens will be speaking an alien language specifically designed for this mod. Their dialogue is partly already written and ready for recording. Examples will be provided if you are interested.

Other
We are interested on getting any help we can get, especially world texture creators and prop modellers.



  



by Au-heppa
Permalink: http://hlssmod.net/index.php?page=0&news=32

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52.  Friday Update VIII - 13 May 2016
51.  1 April 2016 - Friday Update III
50.  25 March 2016 - Friday Update II
49.  18 March 2016 - Friday Update I
48.  10 March 2016 - Public Beta Released
47.  28 February 2016 - Public Beta Release Date
46.  31 January 2016 - Public Beta
45.  27 September 2015 - Merging Items
44.  20 September 2015 - Teaser Trailer
43.  13 September 2015 - Custom Items
42.  8 April 2015 - Voice Actors, Streams, and Alien Posters
41.  6 December 2014 - Asi pos Ruumste
40.  22 October 2014 - Steam Greenlight
39.  14 June 2014 - Language Barriers
38.  12 February 2014 - Language System
37.  28 December 2013 - Fighting System
36.  6 June 2013 - Level Designers and a Voice Actress
35.  28 April 2013 - Playtesting From Earth
34.  8 April 2013 - Alien AI
33.  18 March 2013 - From The Darkness
32.  4 March 2013 - Climbing System
31.  4 February 2013 - Interaction System
30.  14 January 2013 - First Person
29.  7 January 2013 - What happened to Human Error?
28.  1 January 2013 - From Earth
27.  15 February 2012 - LAST ZOMBIE
26.  16 December 2011 - World Of Water
25.  11 December 2011 - Speech Bubbles
24.  7 December 2011 - Making Of Water Part III
23.  3 December 2011 - Making Of Water Part II
22.  1 December 2011 - Making Of Water Part I
21.  21 November 2011 - A quick look into the making of a gesture
20.  13 November 2011 - Water Released
19.  6 November 2011 - Water Release Date
18.  30 July 2011 - Human Error Source Code Released
17.  6 January 2011 - First Ever Weapon Render
16.  3 December 2010 - Water
15.  26 November 2010 - Controllable Manhacks
14.  28 July 2010 - Alyx Mode and More
13.  14 July 2010 - Human Error Co-op Beta Released
12.  29 May 2010 - Alien Grunt & Controller Give Away
11.  26 April 2010 - He's a frakking Traitor
10.  8 Feb 2010 - Human Error Released
9.  7 Feb 2010 - This Is Larson
8.  29 Dec 2009 - 2010 Trailer
7.  28 Dec 2009 - Super Secret Beta Testing Blog
6.  17 Nov 2009 - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
5.  17 Oct 2009 - This Is Noah
4.  23 Jul 2009 - This Is Embarassing
3.  1 Jul 2009 - This Is Au-heppa
2.  17 Mar 2009 - HLSS in Podcast 17
1.  5 Nov 2008 - First Media Release



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